key update from John Bridge OBE DL

There’s no getting around the fact that the new restrictions being imposed from Thursday will be a devastating blow to all our business communities who have done everything in their power to adapt and operate safely.

Business and market confidence have been hit hard by the unclear, stop-start approach taken by governments across the UK over the past eight months, with little end in sight. Many firms are in a much weaker position now than at the start of the pandemic, making it far more challenging to survive extended closures or demand restrictions.

The temporary extension of the furlough scheme will bring short-term relief to many firms, and responds to the Chamber call for business support to be commensurate with the scale of the restrictions imposed. While there is no substitute for a functioning economy, the full financial support package for businesses facing hardship, whether through loss of demand or closure, must immediately be clarified and communicated. Sustained help must be available to employers, to the self-employed and to the many businesses and individuals that have not been able to access any of the government’s schemes to date.

The Government must ensure that the time afforded to them through another lockdown will be used to enable mass testing and radically fixing the Test and Trace systems - which hold the key to a lasting exit strategy for both public health and the economy.

We will examine the detail of new restrictions and support carefully over the coming days, together with business leaders across our area. Business communities will judge them on whether they are clear and evidence-based - and on whether businesses are able to see a suitable exit strategy for planning when these restrictions may come to an end.

Details currently available can be accessed here .

We will provide you with updates as soon as they are available and published.

Furlough Scheme Extended and Further Economic Support announced

We can however confirm that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended for a month to 2 December with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.

Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit, are eligible for the extended Job Retention Scheme, which will continue for a further month.

Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, accounts for just 5% of total employment costs.

Please note that the Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1 November, has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends.

Business Grants have been announced for businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:
  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.
The information announced so far on this by the government last Friday can be accessed here.

All the additional guidance on this is due to be set out shortly and we will advise you of the detail as soon as available.

Contact the Chamber

01223 237414 •
Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce

Clifford House • 2 Station Yard • Oakington • CB24 3AH • United Kingdom